Iceland debreif

If there seems to be a somewhat sombre tone to this story it's because I wrote it all as we went along.
Even though I thought I had read up on what we were getting ourselves into I was initially pretty shocked by the cold weather and even after I had gotten over that the constant raining really got to me.
Out of the 16 days I think we had 3 with no rain.
So it might not sound like it but looking back this was one of the greatest riding experiences of my life and I would definitely recommend it to anyone.

My only real regret is that I didn't bring proper camera gear.
This was the most spectacular scenery I've seen in my whole life and even though photos can never do it justice, I took most of the pictures with my phone.
Just make sure that whatever camera gear you bring can withstand both rain (which is inevitable) and a real beating if you intend to do any F-roads.

I turned my bike in to be serviced shortly after we got home from this trip.
I got a call from my mechanic saying that there's a crack in the upper steering yoke and that it snapped while tightening the bolts, he needs to keep the bike until a new one arrives from the UK.
He also asks me what exactly I've done to the motorcycle?
He says there's red dust absolutely in every nook and cranny of the entire bike and that the air filter which I had specially told him needed changing was so dirty it almost had entertainment value.

A couple of weeks go by until he calls again.
He had done the service and changed the yoke but when he was going to start it up one last time it was completely dead.
He located the fault to the starter relay located under the battery, the most likely explanation is that the drainage hole had been clogged by dirt which had left the relay more or less submerged in saltwater until it almost disintegrated.
That was the second time he said in a somewhat accusatory tone: what exactly have you done to this motorcycle?

So what should have been a normal service actually ended up costing me €800 with the damage done to the bike plus an extra €50 for one of the fog lights which vibrated loose and died.
The fog light was my own fault for not using thread locker and I think the crack in the yoke was there even before the trip so I put these damages mostly down to just bad luck.
But bike damage might be something you'll want to take into account when you compare the costs of shipping your own bike over vs renting one in place.
If it's not raining and your riding gravel the dust and dirt will get everywhere and with all the salt from the sea in the air, saltwater will get everywhere too on the rainy days.

We had researched it beforehand and come to the conclusion that renting bikes for a two week trip would not be economically viable with prices varying between €150-€300/day depending on the capacity of the bike.
And that was without spills resulting in damages to the bikes which we pretty much thought where bound to happen.
Had we ridden more of the F-roads I think it would have been inevitable.
Sharing a cabin and prepaying breakfast and lunch the ferry crossing came to €835 which only would have gotten us about 5 days riding on rented bikes not even taking the cost of the flight into account.

If you're wondering if you can do this trip on bike xxx the answer is undoubtedly, yes you can.
Sticking to the ring road you can ride around Iceland on any bike but I would suggest getting tyres with a deeper thread than just road tires if you want to be able to get to all the major tourist attractions and the Westfjords.

How long should you go? If you're not going to explore the fjellroads and ride inland you can probably do the ringroad and the touristy stuff in a week, if you don't want to rush ten days.
Two weeks was definitely more than we needed but then again we didn't start to pace ourselves until halfway into the trip.

Gear up. Get yourself some waterproofs or gear with Gore-Tex or equivalent, your going to get cold and wet no matter what season you go and the weather changes constantly throughout the day.
There's an Icelandic saying that goes something like If you don't like the weather just wait fifteen minutes and there'll be another season.

I went for a Keis heated jacket and swear by it, I had that thing somewhere between medium and max setting the whole trip.
Bear on the other hand just put on an extra sweater and didn't complain about being cold once during the entire trip.

Even if you don't intend to camp, bring food. We didn't want to make room for a camping stove so we bought readymeals with heaters which I never regretted even though it was an extra 6kg to lug around.

Prepay meals on the ferry, you'll just save 10% of the cost compared to paying for it on board but you'll feel less compelled to skip a meal even if you're feeling seasick.

Even if you don't want to camp you can stay in homestays and hotels without being completely ruined, the total cost for hotels on the entire trip (Iceland only) was €1370 including breakfast.
That comes down to €685 per person or €49 per person per night.

The price of petrol was about the same as here in Sweden which is about €1.5/litre.

If you can be flexible about the dates you're going there's a lot of money to be saved by the MC free of charge offer that Smyril Line has providing certain criteria are met.

Read up before you go and make an itinerary, calculate distances beforehand so you can take your time once you get there.
In retrospect we should and could have spent a lot more time in the cheaper and not nearly as tourist swamped north of the island but we didn't really start to pace ourselves until we arrived in Reykjavik.

I personally love the lonely planet guides but no matter what you get and if it's hot of the press the prices will most lightly be higher once you get there.
Eventually the prices will probably hit the pain threshold and level out but as it is now they increase by about 15% every year.

So what that means is that the sooner you go, the more money you'll save.

Still reading?

Go! Go now!



The cracked yoke.

The starter relay and fuse eaten up by salt water